My cousin and I attended the Audirama Caravan Rally last month in celebration of Audizine’s 13th anniversary. The day consisted of a caravan from the Mazda Laguna Raceway up to the Sonoma Raceway (also known as Sears Point or Infineon Raceway). It included beautiful sights as we cruised up the coast of Northern California on Highway 1 and stopped at the multiple checkpoints along the way. Then it concluded with a couple of parade laps at Sonoma Raceway.
The caravan started at the famous Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Salinas, California. There were easily over 50 Audis that showed up at the track. Even though the event was open to all German cars, I was still a little hesitant bringing my MK3 Jetta. When I arrived, my car and a bagged MK5 Gti ended were the only non-Audis at the event. However, everyone was super cool and welcoming. The Audizine community is truly an awesome group of car enthusiasts. Unfortunately, we were not able to go around the track. But we did have the chance to watch a little of the SCCA Double Regional Races.
Griffin Motorwerke and Milltek Sport were just two of many sponsors that contributed to this event. Mr. Terry Griffin himself attended the event in his brand new 2015 Audi A3 Sedan. Boy, did this car sound good! He told me he was running a prototype Milltek exhaust on it. The new 2.0 TFSI engine was outstanding too. When we were heading to Laguna Seca I told him that I would just follow him and his response was, “Try to keep up.” There was no way I would keep up with him in my 2.slow. So, inevitably he left me in the dust when we entered the on-ramp to the freeway and that was the last I saw of him until we arrived at the track.
It was really cool rolling with Terry because I hadn’t seen him in a long time. It reminded me of the times when my dad and I would visit him at the shop in Berkeley. My dad has known him since he was in high school and my uncle actually used to work for him back in the day. Terry’s a cool guy. He’s quite a character and he’s pretty hilarious.
After we all registered at the gate, received our gift bags, and applied our caravan decals, we all departed and headed off to the first checkpoint of the caravan.
Amazing view of the Pacific Ocean from Highway 1.
First stop on the caravan, Greyhound Rock County Park in Davenport right on the coast off Highway 1. At every checkpoint, anyone who purchased a ticket received a gift from one of the sponsors and a raffle ticket. At this stop, some really cool snapback and five panel hats from Grizzly Griptape were handed out.
There were a lot of great sponsors for this event. So many shirts, hats, gift bags, and raffle prizes were donated. In addition, Audizine the sponsors, were able to cover the costs of the event. So all of the proceeds from the purchased event tickets were donated to charity.
Back on the road again. Now en-route to Half Moon Bay to get our grub on!
B5 S4 bros hardparked. Ken Stevens’ S4 and an S4 from Boden Autohaus. Second checkpoint, Harbor Village in Half Moon Bay. Everyone parked and went to grab some lunch before heading up to the third checkpoint. More goodies and raffle tickets were handed out too.
There were about six of us in this little pocket of the caravan. As we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, we were constantly turning heads. People walking across the bridge immediately stopped and turned to look at us after they heard the roar of our engines and the poping of our exhausts. They looked at us with fascination and fumbled to take out their phones to try and snap a picture. It felt pretty awesome.
Guys from the caravan lined up at the exit on the way to Fort Baker, the third checkpoint. This was just two exits after you get off the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately we did not go to this checkpoint. My cousin and I decided to just go straight to Sonoma Raceway.
As we arrived at Sonoma Raceway, excitement levels rose to an all time high. Butterflies quickly rushed to my stomach and fluttered freely. Even though I have been to the track a few times before to watch a number of events, I had never been in pit lane with my own car. It felt surreal, almost like seeing your favorite artist or band in concert for the first time. This is the track I had driven on so many times in Forza and now I would be doing it with my own car. In fact, I made it a priority to play Forza and race on this track the day before the Audirama Caravan.
After all the parade laps around the track were finished, we all parked by the front gate for more photo opps. This was the last stop on the Caravan. That meant one last gift. The Audirama Caravan shirts designed by Grizzly Griptape were handed out and those guys did a great job with them.
This was truly a remarkable experience. Met a lot of cool people, caravaned with a whole bunch of extraordinary Audis along California’s beautiful coast, received a great deal of gifts from various sponsors, and finished the day with a couple laps around Sonoma Raceway. The Audizime Team and Sponsors did an outstanding job planning this event and I look forward to attending the next one.
Photos and words by Ayrton Cinco